Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 2, 2014

VHS names STAR students and teachers


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McLendon and Stone

VALDOSTA – This was an exceptional year for the Valdosta High School STAR student program. Two outstanding students, Aneesha Chowdhary daughter of Dr. Prem Kumar and Dr. Lilam Seth of Valdosta, and Samantha McLendon daughter of William and Robin McLendon of Valdosta have been nominated as the honored recipients for 2013-14.

 Each year, the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program nominates Georgia high school senior students who receive the highest scores on a three-part SAT in one sitting and who must be in the top 10 percent of their class. The Kiwanis Club of Valdosta is the STAR sponsor.

McLendon, president of the BETA club and Varsity soccer player studied the Princeton Review SAT prep book extensively before taking the SAT test. Outside of her studies she enjoys long boarding, playing the guitar and piano, and scuba diving and skiing whenever she can.

 According to Mrs. Holly Stone, no challenge is too difficult, and no assignment is too trivial for McLendon. “Samantha, while being extremely bright and talented is also very well-rounded. From the minute she entered high school she has been tremendously involved in all aspects of student life; from her academia to creating floats for Homecoming. Samantha is also very generous with regards to her classmates – she is very supportive of her peers and has often mentored her classmates,” says Stone.

 Holly Stone, an AP Government and IB Psychology teacher of 18 years was honored as McLendon’s STAR teacher. In preparation for the AP exam and SAT’s, Stone uses six different AP Government prep books, FRQ’s, practice test questions, and extensive outside readings such as research studies or primary documents. During her reviews, Stone takes a very hands-on approach and spends one weekend day, closest to the testing date, from 8-3p.m.

Stone and McLendon have shared many memorable moments together during the three years in which Stone has had the pleasure of educating McLendon. “I enjoyed the discussions about topics that helped reinforce the information we learned during note taking which made the class more interesting. Mrs. Stone really cares about all her students-I will miss that along with her sense of humor, cool topics and discussions,” McLendon says with enthusiasm.

 McLendon will be remembered for her many academic achievements but also for her ability to get her class in an upbeat mood by singing a variety of songs like, Don’t Stop Believin’, her wild homecoming outfits and her excitement after her acceptance into Duke University. “Her reaction to getting into Duke University was the best memory especially after watching her strive for three years to attain such a goal,” Stone recalls.

 In the fall, McLendon will attend Duke University. She is unsure about her major, but she is considering Environmental Science or Biology. However, she is really interested in Psychology and Neuroscience as well. “My advice to Samantha is to keep that same drive, determination and enthusiasm that she has and  use them in all aspects of her life, be it college, family, travel or her career,” informs Mrs. Stone.

 High school STAR students compete for system titles; and system STAR students in turn compete for region honors in the 12 STAR Regions. Region winners and their STAR teachers are invited to Atlanta to compete for the state STAR scholarships and awards. Finally, region winners are interviewed, and the runner-up and State PAGE STAR student and STAR teacher are announced.

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